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Cleansing for Health

Fasting strategies for success — not only with weight loss, but for a fresh start.

By Carol Christine

Fasting is becoming a popular method for those seeking weight reduction. Weight loss, however, is only a side benefit to the body and mind cleanse that you give yourself when you abstain from solid foods.

Juice fasting is the safest, most efficient way to release toxicity from the body. The intake of fresh live juices of both fruits and vegetables for three to seven days will allow the body's tissues to cleanse and rejuvenate. While fasting, the breakdown of tissues (known as "autolysis") releases the least usable cells first. This is an important process and is why fasting has been considered an alternative procedure in working with arthritis and other degenerative diseases where crystals of acidic debris lodge in areas of the body.

Though some consider "fasting" to mean consuming only water, the juice fast slows down this autolysis and keeps the body alkaline in the process. The key is to cleanse the body and keep the chemistry of the blood alkaline as opposed to acid. During the juice fast, assimilation (the absorption of nutrients) stops, and an increased elimination begins.

It is important to assist the body to release toxic debris on all levels in order to feel as comfortable as one can during this period of detoxification. All areas of elimination can be stimulated to expedite toxic release. Dry-brush massage will remove dead skin cells; scraping the tongue with a spoon will release excess mucus (a result of eating dairy products and mucus-forming foods). Steam or sauna will also open up the pores for toxic release.

Cleansing the colon will be important as it is one of the main elimination organs. The colon, about five feet long, starts in the right portion of the abdomen, traveling in a series of curves, before exiting out the rectum. It is along these curves that matter from previous meals of modern, "civilized," highly refined meals will tend to impact. The movement of the colon, as its muscular action pushes matter through. is known as "peristalsis." This movement relies on bulk for its action.

In fasting, as no bulk is moving through the colon, peristalsis may slow down. To help elimination, some use laxatives, which are irritating in their action and may not fully cleanse the previously impacted residue. Enemas may be used during the fast to alleviate this residue, and using distilled water for the enema is recommended. A more thorough cleansing may be obtained with colonic irrigation, a gentle purified water washing of the colon using disposable tubing and performed by a licensed colon hygienist. The colonic, like an internal bath, enables the impacted, hardened fecal matter to release and gently eliminate while the client remains comfortably on the treatment table.

Colon cleansing has been known since ancient times for treating constipation, which was believed to have been the root of many diseases and illnesses. The first recorded reference to colon cleansing dates back more than 3,000 years to the Ebers papyrus, an Egyptian medical document. This document outlines bowel and colon cleansing procedures using various herbal concoctions and water; it has been carbon-dated to between 1500 and 1700 BC.

Colon hydrotherapy, as it is also called is a helpful tool in preventative health care. You do not have to be fasting when taking a colonic. Chronic constipation, through lack of bowel tone, is improved with several treatments by the gentle stimulating action. Cold symptoms may be relieved at the first sign of congestion, as the body's excess mucus will have an increased level of elimination from the colonic.

Holistic practices are geared to the individual who takes the time for preventative personal health care. There are many philosophies regarding health practices, and it is one's choice to try various modalities to develop one's own belief system. Given our hectic and often less-than-healthy modern lifestyle, a time of fasting and cleansing can be very helpful, as it is a time for rest, contemplation and regeneration of the body, mind and spirit.


Carol Christine is a licensed colon hygienist.


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